Film Review South Africa

Subscribe

Elections 2024

Ebrahim Harvey responds to our last video with him.

Ebrahim Harvey responds to our last video with him.

sona.co.za

Advertise your job ad
    Search jobs

    Gripping Black Sea

    The gripping deep-sea thriller Black Sea will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last moment.

    A great human drama

    Nothing beats setting a story in the claustrophobic confines of a submarine, especially if it's loaded with testosterone ready to explode! It's one of those marvellous mystery thrillers where you plummet into the darkness of human despair, where flawed characters are pitted against each other and there's a relentless killer with a taste for blood. If you're claustrophobic beware, there are moments in Black Sea that you will stop breathing and be swallowed by the suspense.

    It is also a great human drama with rich characters brought to life by an extraordinary cast. Jude Law is in top form as a working-class ex-Navy manwho finds himself adrift. When the salvage company for whom he has toiled over 11 years abruptly lays him off and he hears the tale of a German U-boat full of WWII-era gold sitting on a bed in the Georgian depths of the Black Sea, he feels he can prove himself anew.

    He jumps at a funding offer facilitated by go-between Daniels (Scoot McNairy) and pulls together a misfit crew to brave the deep and go after the sunken treasure.
    A vintage Russian diesel submarine will be manned by British and Russian roughnecks, with a lone American - Daniels - aboard, obliged to keep an eye on his shadowy bosses' investment.

    The crew

    The crew's Russians are led by savvy Blackie (Konstantin Khabenskiy) and include taciturn Morozov (Grigory Dobrygin), stalwart Baba (Sergey Veksler), pragmatic Levchenko (Sergey Kolesnikov), and formidable Zaytsev (Sergey Puskepalis). The English contingent includes volatile Fraser (Ben Mendelsohn), veteran Peters (David Threlfall), wisecracking Reynolds (Michael Smiley), and impressionable Tobin (Bobby Schofield), whom Robinson takes under his wing.

    Gripping Black Sea

    As the sub probes deeper and deeper while evading detection from the Russian navy above, everyone anticipates collecting a share of the gold, and soon greed and desperation take control onboard the claustrophobic vessel. A shocking betrayal, a startling discovery, and escalating uncertainty about the mission cause the men to turn on each other, only to have to make an uneasy truce in hopes of ever making it back to the surface alive.

    Exploring human beings' emotional, psychological, and physical responses

    Black Sea vividly explodes with emotional action under the skillful direction of director Kevin Macdonald, who gave us the Oscar-winning One Day in September, The Last King of Scotland and Touching the Void.

    Macdonald has consistently explored human beings' emotional, psychological, and physical responses as they find themselves in frightening predicaments - sometimes brought about by the action of others, sometimes by their own, and sometimes brought by nature itself. He admits, "I've always been drawn to explore what the constant threat of danger does to a person's psyche."

    Gripping Black Sea

    In seeking to explore these themes further, he realised that he "wanted to make a film about the terror of being trapped underwater - and I felt that there's a general fear attributed to submarines because of the inherent claustrophobia."

    "I also gave thought to how the people who do sail them become a family. They can get so used to being with each other within the confines of a submarine that when they get off of it, they are quite dysfunctional people. There are people who are happier at sea, happier in this tin can, because they understand it and they understand the world that's around them - whereas, in the real world, they are lost. That became an inspiration for the characters here, as did our own fascination with what submariners do - spending months and months on a submarine. Black Sea is an old-fashioned adventure story, populated by a great set of characters."

    If you are looking for a great thriller that delivers on all levels, Black Sea will definitely not disappoint.

    About Daniel Dercksen

    Daniel Dercksen has been a contributor for Lifestyle since 2012. As the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative The Writing Studio and a published film and theatre journalist of 40 years, teaching workshops in creative writing, playwriting and screenwriting throughout South Africa and internationally the past 22 years. Visit www.writingstudio.co.za
    Let's do Biz